Harper's Bazaar (Singapore)
THE GENER ATION GAME
As I’m writing this editor’s note, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is on television announcing the new normal for Singapore: optional mask-wearing outdoors, increased capacity at events, and a doubling in group size from five to 10 people for social gatherings. You will already be experiencing this new-found (old?) joy as you read this, what with a welcome return, somewhat, to pre-Covid days. I had a glimpse of freedom last December when I went down to Sydney to visit my folks and where hardly anyone wore masks outdoors. As I walked about in the city, wandered down beaches and took long strolls along cliff edges, I was reminded of how much of a joy it is to experience nature with a naked face. I write about the thrill of travel, food and company with Mum on page 102, and hope it inspires you to take a holiday abroad, wherever that may be. The eye, after all, has to travel.
For this month’s issue, we’ve focused on the theme of “coming of age”. We explore what fashion is and what it means to everyone from baby boomers to zoomers. We had a chance to shoot and interview one of Singapore’s OG supermodels, Ethel Fong, who, despite not being actively in front of the lens for so many years (she stopped modelling at the height of her popularity at age 26), oozes the same appeal and sophistication that saw her rise to the top of the industry more than 30 years ago. Read about this amazing (and philanthropic) glamazon on page 48. Then, we turn the spotlight to the Gen Z lot and their quest for authenticity and social consciousness. On page 112, Senior Beauty Editor Arissa Ha examines how this inspiring generation has helped shape the beauty industry, and the players who are speaking the loudest to this young cohort—from Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty to even TV series Euphoria. Sitting at the cusp of this generation is 26-year-old photographer and content whizz-kid Lee Yik Keat, who fronts BAZAAR Man this month (page 85). His photography tutorials on social media have spawned a huge following of more than 1 million on Instagram and 1.7 million on TikTok. He has worked with brands such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Onitsuka Tiger, and people the globe over have fallen in love with his drone photography as well as his travel images. Of course, it helps that he looks like a member of a K-pop boy band, which could have had some part to play in helping to garner interest in his work behind and in front of the camera.
Finally, I’m so proud to be able to present our first-ever collage cover—a brilliant collaboration between photographer Paul McLean and artist Portis Wasp. When we tasked McLean to work on a cover project featuring Sarah Burton’s spring/summer 2022 collection for Alexander McQueen (which she showed in the brand’s triumphant return to London), he already knew what he wanted to bring on set. I wanted this cover to celebrate the best of Britain—great artistry, pomp, pageantry and art. What better way to do that than to bring together Scouser McLean, Scotsman Wasp and London’s McQueen on a cover that’s modern and beautiful? Rule Britannia might sound very odd for a Singaporean title, but it’s a tip of the hat to our colonial roots and a celebration of just how far we have come to emerge as a first world city with a bright future—sans mask. ■